How can you keep a preschooler busy at home during the pandemic?
Coronavirus took people by surprise. Yes, we all knew that something was going on and that it was coming to the West. However, the scale of pandemic and prevention measures was difficult to predict. We woke up one day in the world where we have to stay home to keep ourselves and everybody else safe. And it’s alright, as long as we’re safe, we can do it for some time.
But how can you explain it to a little preschooler you raise? How can you occupy a child to keep him or her busy, happy, safe, and not at all bored?
1. Create fun and stimulating space
If your child has his or her room, the task will be much easier. According to the experts from Parent Center Network, it’s less challenging to keep a child engaged and occupied in a room that looks interesting.
All kindergarten rooms are always colorful, full of toys and decorations, and it’s not only about the looks; it’s actually easier like this to keep children intrigued and prevent them from walking around the house looking for mischief. Make sure it’s 100% safe – there are no sharp items, electric outlets are covered, windows aren’t accessible – and you may even be able to leave your child alone for a while.
How it will look depends on what your kid particularly likes and enjoys. You may build a fort, or use their toys to create a pirate ship or a zoo.
2. Create a routine
Don’t turn your life upside down only because you can’t leave the house. Even if your child doesn’t follow the news or ask about the pandemic, they still see that something is going on, which can make them anxious.
A good routine may help them feel stability and security. Don’t let them sleep till noon and stay up late. Explain and teach them when you are fully available for them, and when you can be busier because of your work or household chores.
Plan your days, including school tasks, exercise, meals, fun, time on smartphones or in front of the tv, and them helping you around the house.
3. Plan activities
Indoor activities for your child should include all sorts of fun activities, household chores, and other responsibilities, which you should start introducing since day one to establish the routine.
Game Box – this will allow you to keep your child busy when you are occupied with something else. Get a big box and fill it with easy, yet fun activities, like coloring books, crayons, puzzles, building blocks, cards, etc. Whenever your kid gets bored, you will only give him or her the box, which should do the trick for some time.
Some children may resist it at first, but it doesn’t mean you should stop trying; it’s possible that they only need to adjust to their new routine.
Treasure/scavenger hunt – if you have a garden that’s a safe space, you can even use outdoors. Hide different items around your house and backyard, come up with some tasks, and remember to prepare a well-deserved reward. You can be sure it will keep your child occupied for hours.
And you can even include some chores into the fun, making one of the tasks collecting and hiding their building bricks, or feeding the dog.
Audiobooks – you shouldn’t give up reading to your child, but if he or she likes to listen to stories, you may discover the world of audiobooks. Find out what keeps your kid engaged and interested.
It will not only give you some time for yourself, but you will also help your child develop better.
Screen time – make it a routine. Don’t allow your child to spend time in front of a TV or a computer, only because it’s easier. Make sure that he or she knows when it’s alright to watch or play something digitally. Make it a big deal, not a regular activity that’s filling whole days.
4. Chores and responsibilities
Let them help you – when you are cooking or cleaning, let your child feel like they are the necessary help you absolutely need because it motivates them to work. Distribute more manageable tasks to keep them occupied and satisfied.
Invent a task and make it a big deal – there’s nothing as motivating for children as the importance of their mission. It doesn’t actually have to be big, but you can make it so. Ask your kid to draw a picture of grandparents saying that it needs to be done as well as possible to make grandpa and grandma happy.
Toy-washing – bring a lot of towels, fill a bin with water and task your child with washing all of their plastic toys, ensuring them that it will help the toys to remain happy, which will make them better playing companions. Besides, which child doesn’t like to play with water?
5. Plan physical activities
It’s vital to stay in shape, especially that you’re stuck at home, and it’s easy to become a couch potato. Make sure that your child does enough exercise. It depends on what he or she likes. You can have some dancing time, or let them ride a bike around your garden, or play football. If your kid is eager, you can invite them to do some fitness or basic yoga moves with you. Anything will be good, but it’s essential to make it regular.
Be creative and calm, but not too soft
Of course, there will be days when nothing will work, and your child will be moody; it’s normal and understandable, especially in a time like this. But it’s important not to give up your plans.
Yes, you can play with your kid a little more, but don’t say yes to anything, only because your little one feels a little worse. Routine and discipline are still the best things to fight anxiety. And don’t forget about cuddles.